by Dina Sleiman
The scale has never really been my friend. Although a skinny kid, by college I managed to yo-yo diet my way out of juniors sizes. Then in my early twenties, I figured out how to stay reasonably slim and healthy. Which worked fine, even through three pregnancies, until I hit middle age. That’s when something went terribly awry. I would try to use the methods that had kept me thin for years, only to find myself starving, grumpy, and defeated.
From 2008 until 2011, I struggled. Finally I realized the medications I’d been put on for middle-aged health problems like reflux and high cholesterol were the culprits. Long story short, the meds kept my from absorbing the nutrients I needed while simultaneously making me gain weight. When I started noticing some early diabetes symptoms, that was the last straw. With the help of my chiropractor, I came up with a plan to get off the meds and build up my health again.
Now I’m in a new place. And in this place I’m able to lose weight again. It seems the best solution to all my health problems (based largely on the fact that I gain my weight around my belly) is to get thin and stay thin. In fact, short of taking a cocktail of medicines and medicines for my medicines, this is probably the only way for me to live a long and healthy life. So I’ve been revisiting some of those old methods that kept me slim for years, and I thought I’d share them with you today.
Focus on Health: The point is to be healthy—not skinny. As a follower of Christ, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Take care of it because it’s the right thing to do. Take care of it so that you’re in good shape to fulfill God’s plan for your life.
Do the Math: While some fad diets can have merits, in the end it all comes down to simple mathematics. In order to lose weight you must burn more calories than you eat.
Find Something You Love: If you think of exercise as drudgery, you won’t stick with it for long. Find something you enjoy. A group class with friends for the socialite. A team sport for the athlete. A quiet walk for the nature lover. A solitary swim for the recluse. For me it’s walks, bike rides, and dance aerobics in the privacy of my bedroom.
Take it Slow: Weight management needs to be a lifestyle. Make slow, steady changes over a long period of time. Start with positive health changes rather than calorie reducing ones. Try adding one per week.
1) Drink more water
2) Add more vegetables to your diet
3) Add more whole grains to your diet
4) Add a healthy activity you enjoy
5) Stop eating after 7pm
6) Remove trans fats from your diet
7) Switch to low fat meats and dairy products
8) Minimize processed sugar in your diet
9) Minimize processed flour in your diet
10) Find a healthy calorie count for you and stick with it
In fact, if you try adding steps one through nine over several months, the good news is you might not even need step ten. So remember, focus on health. Take care of yourself. Healthy is beautiful.
Do you have any weight management tips that work for you? Are you already using some of these healthy tips? If you could choose just one healthy lifestyle change to make this year, which one would it be?
Dina Sleiman writes lyrical stories that dance with light. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. She was the Overall Winner in the 2009 Touched by Love contest for unpublished authors. Her first novel, Dance of the Dandelion with Whitefire Publishing has just released. She has recently become an acquisitions editor for WhiteFire as well. Join her as she discovers the unforced rhythms of grace. For more info visit her at http://dinasleiman.com/